Light Falls on Sleeping Bear Dunes

Last Sunday we joined friends for a walk up the tail end of the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive that runs through Sleeping Bear Dunes. Given that the Drive is now closed to anything but foot-traffic for the season, we had the place almost entirely to ourselves, give or take one or two other wandering couples and a few rebellious bikers (of the intimidating, but friendly Sons-of-Anarchy variety – not bicyclists; regrettably, Jax Teller was not among them). 😉

We’d all made the same trip together for the first time roughly four years prior, in late October of 2009 (when Jackson was just five months old), taking in the surreal splendor of Sleeping Bear (a first for us Cliftons) in rather unsavory weather. The wind and rain of that trip meant we had the park to ourselves then, too, but last Sunday’s “just us” excursion offered up a dramatically different atmosphere.

Don’t misunderstand – the Dunes are a sight to behold under any conditions, even dark skies and sleet. On this November day, however, we were blessed with some of the most beautiful Fall skies and gorgeous lighting I’ve ever stood under.

Our backwards hike up the Scenic Drive meant we hit the North Bar Lake Overlook first, where we basked in the warm, bright sun that we’d only gotten glimpses of through the tall trees that had lined our path up to that point.

Our next stop was the iconic Lake Michigan Overlook that offers a perspective of the Great Lake from the massive dunes poised approximately 450 feet above the shoreline. An international favorite that, this day, was just ours. 🙂

On our way to the overlook’s back deck, the lighting got really pretty…

Now that the sun is setting “earlier” (thanks a lot, Daylight Savings Time), we had to truck it on our walk back to our vehicles before the sun disappeared and the temperature dropped. It took quite a bit of self-control for Heather and I – being the photo… “fanatics” (not the word my brain wants to type here) that we are – to refrain from another round of photos on the return trip. (For a fun experiment in (mostly) varying perspectives, you can see her take on the day’s hike here.)

We finished the “day” with quick pics of the sunset on our way back to TC…

…then it was home for Raiders of the Lost Ark. 🙂

All around, some of my favorite ways to spend a day!

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8 thoughts on “Light Falls on Sleeping Bear Dunes

  1. This is my favorite place on earth. Thanks for taking us along…

  2. Joyce Metzer says:

    Absolutely incredible photos Jess, they get better and better every time you post some. Jackson is getting so big I can hardly stand it. As always a lovely outing for the Cliftons and wonderful pictures as well. Miss you guys!

    • jcee3 says:

      Thank you, Joyce! I do think I’m getting better as I go. 🙂 It’s nice to finally have “a thing” I’m sticking with. Jax is growing up WAY too fast! My biggest goal is to capture these many fleeting moments. Hope we get to see ya at the office soon!

  3. Linda Clifton says:

    Awesome as usual!

  4. Heather says:

    It always amuses me when we take similar shots – even when we’re together 🙂
    I love that shot you got of Jackson balancing, and I’m impressed with the group shot, given the quality of opportunity you had. Great hike. We must do more!

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